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Britannia's Wolf: The Dawlish Chronicles: September 1877 - February 1878 by [Vanner, Antoine]
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Britannia's Wolf: The Dawlish Chronicles: September 1877 - February 1878 Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in The Dawlish Chronicles (5 Book Series)

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Length: 327 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

About the Author

Antoine Vanner has survived military coups, a guerrilla war, storms at sea and life in mangrove swamps, tropical forest, offshore oil-platforms and the boardroom. He has lived and worked long-term in eight countries, has travelled widely in all continents except Antarctica and is fluent in three languages. He has a passion for nineteenth-century political and military history and has a deep understanding of what was the cutting-edge technology of the time. His knowledge of human nature and his first-hand experience of the locales – often surprising – of the most important conflicts of the period provide the impetus for his chronicling of the life of the Royal Navy officer Nicholas Dawlish. “I’m fascinated by the Victorian period,” Vanner says, “for not only was it one of colonial expansion and of Great Power rivalry that often came to the brink of war, but it was also one of unprecedented social, political, technological and scientific change. Britain’s power may have been at an apogee but it was under constant threat and would demand constant adaptation from those who aspired to shape events. Many born in the 1840s would not only play significant roles in the later decades of the century but be key players in the maelstrom that would engulf the world in 1914. The Dawlish Chronicles are set in that world of change, uncertainty and risk and they involve projection of naval power to meet complex social, political and diplomatic challenges.” Find out more on www.dawlishchronicles.com

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3809 KB
  • Print Length: 327 pages
  • Publisher: Old Salt Press; 2 edition (11 Nov. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CLHET9S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,444 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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I grew up on C S Forester’s Hornblower books. In fact, I read them to destruction. I loved the Gregory Peck film and the Ioan Gruffudd series featuring Hornblower, a typical character of grim determination and moral code of the military forces maintaining the interests of empire, yet a very human and complex individual. I mourned when there were no more stories.

Then I discovered Richard Dawlish, a man of his times, but with that same grim determination and in particular the one to rise in his structured society. More ruthless than Hornblower, and certainly less pious, he goes well beyond his duty in order to succeed but maintains a firm moral compass throughout.

Yet he still has the hang-ups of his age: a man in a man’s world, an innate snobbism when he finds himself vulnerable to an emotional connection with a woman several ranks below him. Yet he recognises in her a steadfastness, sensuality and courage that are deeply attractive…

The detail and deft description are excellent. Although I learned a great deal about steam driven vessels and the impact of the new technology of the time, I never felt I was receiving a lesson in hydraulics. The story was vivid, nothing spared, and I drank in the description of a campaign I didn't know much about. Chapeau, Mr Vanner!

I have the next episode on my Kindle…
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Britannia's Wolf in less than two days. The story, and its rich cast of characters, drew me into a region and an era I knew almost nothing about.
Nicholas Dawlish is an engaging hero: selfless, self-doubting, resourceful but fallible. He's sent on a secret mission to intervene in the Russo-Turkish War - and from there, it's a breathless, convincing, nerve-shredding adventure in which Dawlish and his engaging band of Turkish marines, cavalrymen and sailors race across the Black Sea to prevent Istanbul falling to the Czar. There's the beginnings of a love story, which I look forward to reading more about in the sequels, and a sense that Dawlish is to play a greater part in the Great Game of Victorian military machinations.
Most of all, it's the historical, naval and military detail that sweeps you up: the narrative is exuberantly paced, the research impeccable but lightly worn, and you feel as tired and exhilarated as Dawlish when it's all done.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A rollicking tale ... lots of fun!

Much historical research has gone into the writing - and it shows.
Author is clearly dedicated to producing a refined reading experience.
Highly recommended
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Format: Paperback
(Author's review copy)

`We don't want to fight but by jingo if we do...
`We've got the ships, we've got the men, and got the money too!
`We've fought the Bear before... and while we're Britons true,
`The Russians shall not have Constantinople...'

(Chorus to Macdermott's War Song, GW Hunt, 1878)

The background to this novel is the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-8, of which I suspect most British people know little, perhaps not even that this where we got the word `Jingoism'. Vanner has clearly studied it in great depth, and appears to have the political and strategic background off pat. Briefly, Russia, on a pretext of saving her co-religionists in Bulgaria from Moslem atrocity and tyranny, attacked Turkey and pressed on in order to put the Ottoman Empire out of business once for all by taking Istanbul. It had tried and failed to do in the 1850s, but Britain and France decided that a Russia with unfettered access to the Mediterranean could not be tolerated, still less perhaps the chaos that would result from the resulting power vacuum in the Middle East.

Vanner's hero, Commander Nicholas Dawlish RN, has been sent to Turkey to take charge of naval matters in the eastern end of the Black Sea and so help to frustrate Russia's advance. Vanner has the technology weighed off, too, in his description of the warships of the time and their armament, and the action cracks along at a rapid pace, pulling the reader into such a credible narrative that one almost forgets this is fiction. The motivation of the British Government is thus to support Turkey covertly so as to avoid having to intervene overtly.
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Format: Paperback
I have long been a fan of the Sharpe series and similar stories. I was therefore very excited to hear about the new 'Dawlish Chronicles' series.

Britannia's Wolf does not disappoint. Dawlish is a suitably Victorian hero - a complex individual with all the virtues and some of the vices of his period and background. He leads a cast of complex, interesting characters - scheming royals, plucky women, shadowy threats, bloodthirsty brigands, heroic men and some ordinary people struggling to live through interesting times.

Vanner brings the period and the settings to life. He clearly knows his history and his technology backwards and the book is filled with interesting vignettes of information that never threaten to take over the story or hinder the narrative.

An excellent debut novel - I look forward to the next in the series.
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